With a wealth of experience at both the intercollegiate and international levels, Sean Wilkinson has been named the eighth head coach of Princeton men’s squash, it was announced May 5 by Director of Athletics Gary Walters ’67.
Wilkinson, who most recently served as assistant coach at Drexel University, takes over for the recently retired Bob Callahan ’77.
“In appointing Sean Wilkinson as the new head coach of men's squash, the search advisory committee sought a candidate who possessed the coaching ability and personal qualities of former coach Bob Callahan,” Walters said. “We believe that Sean will prove to be a worthy successor of Bob's, will be embraced by the Princeton squash stakeholders, and will eventually put his own stamp on the program.”
Wilkinson, a graduate of Bates College and native of Zimbabwe, served as assistant coach at both Bates and Brown University before being appointed as the first assistant coach at Drexel.
“I am honored to have been offered the head coaching position at Princeton,” Wilkinson said. “Bob Callahan, [assistant coach] Neil Pomphrey and all the Princeton players have created something very special here, and I am humbled to have been chosen to continue that legacy.
“This is a wonderful opportunity to work with some of the brightest and best squash players in the country, and I'm looking forward to playing an important role in their lives,” Wilkinson added. “We have a wonderful group of returning players, and I can't wait to get to know them and to start preparing for next season.”
Beyond his time coaching at the collegiate level, Wilkinson’s experience includes a two-year term as the head coach at the PoliSquash Sports and Fitness Club in Milano, Italy. Selected as a PeterNicolSquash endorsed coach, Wilkinson held 50 sessions a week for individual and group squash players.
In addition to running these sessions, Wilkinson headed the junior squash program, recruiting new players and organizing their lessons. He also managed a league of over 150 players and put together club tournaments, including the annual 5Nationals International Tournament with 64 competitors.
Working closely with former world number one player Peter Nicol, he has also coached at the Nicol Champions Academy for the past three summers and the Squash and Beyond program at Williams College during the summers of 2008 and 2009.
A 2008 graduate of Bates College, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science, Wilkinson captained the Bates team which captured the Hoehn Cup in 2008. He was a New England Small College Association first team selection, and earned the Bates College Sportsmanship Award.
The sportsmanship honor will be a meaningful one to his predecessor, who prided himself on the class and dignity of Princeton Squash as much, if not more, than its overall success. Since 2000, Princeton has had five winners of the Skillman Award, “given annually to a senior men’s squash player who has demonstrated outstanding sportsmanship during his entire college career.”
No other school has won more than three during that period.
“Sean is going to be a terrific leader for this team,” Callahan said. “He is poised, personable, and a very good coach. I believe he is going to have great success here at Princeton over a hopefully long career.”
Princeton is coming off back-to-back Ivy League championship seasons, and returns a pair of All-America rising juniors in Samuel Kang and Tyler Osborne. The Tigers graduate two players from the top five spots on its varsity ladder, including 2011 national champion — and 2013 Skillman Award recipient — Todd Harrity.